Black ice to blame for 15 crashes on Tulsa interstates

Posted at 11:06 AM, Dec 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-14 18:28:11-05

TULSA -- The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said black ice is to blame for a number of crashes Wednesday...particularly on Interstate 244.

Now they're warning drivers of how dangerous plummeting temperatures can be.

When people headed into work Wednesday morning, the roads were dry.

But by 10 a.m., conditions had deteriorated so badly, first responders had a hard time helping.

“I wasn't expecting to start sliding but I was going probably a little too fast,” said driver Brian Garrett.

It's a turn Garrett has taken many times before.

But the Skiatook resident said he wasn't prepared for what happened as he merged off of 244.

“We just hit some ice and just slid. Slammed into the guardrail,” he said.

Luckily, Garrett and his wife weren't injured, but their car was damaged.

“You're not supposed to slam on your breaks but that's the first thing that I did so I don't think I was really prepared for it,” Garrett said.

Even the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said they were caught off guard.

“It was all black ice,” said OHP Captain Jason Holt.

15 crashes were reported within an hour along Interstates 244 and 44.

Troopers couldn't arrive fast enough.

We did not know this was coming. So the traffic made it hard for us to get there. A couple of troopers hit some slick spots going,” said Holt.

Seven people were injured, but troopers say all were treated and released.

But with plummeting temperatures this weekend, today served as a scary reminder...

“If there's precipitation and below freezing temperatures, the bridges and overpasses can and will ice over,” said Holt.

...and a lesson learned for Garrett.

“Probably just going to go 20-25 miles per hour on all the on-ramps, especially ones this high up,” Garrett said.

Two ambulances that were responding to the crashes along I-244 were also struck by sliding cars.

Troopers are asking drivers to go slow this weekend as temperatures continue to drop.

ODOT treated bridges and overpasses with sand after they heard reports of icy bridges on I-244 from Sand Springs to Highway 169.

According to the City of Tulsa public information officer, there is currently no freezing on arterial streets.

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